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Social Video Throwdown: Pinterest Enters the Ring With Facebook and Twitter Essay

In August, Pinterest followed other major social platforms by launching full video ads for brands. More options for video marketing can only be good news for marketers, and here’s why I think so:

  • is spent watching video
  • say seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision process
  • Shoppers who view video are than non-viewers

But each social platform has its own audience and way of presenting video content, so you should create a unique strategy for each. Read on to learn the key features of social video ads on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.


Pinterest is now offering mobile-only Promoted Video, delivered via a Cinematic Pin. This is basically an animated GIF that plays a few frames from the video as people scroll past. To actually see the video and hear the sound, people have to tap on the teaser.


Promoted Videos can be horizontal, vertical, or square and last as long as five minutes. Pinterest also allows you to hand-select six pins to support your video content and encourage engagement.




Pinterest offers in-depth analytics about your ad’s visibility and performance, including how many impressions it received, how many clicks the ad received, how many clicks the featured pins received, and how much of the video people watched (25, 50, 75, or 100 percent).

Even if no one clicks an ad, brands still have to pay for them to appear — based on cost per thousand impressions of the GIF preview. You can also put a limit on how many times individuals can see your campaign, so you don’t waste impressions. According to , Promoted Pins require a $500,000 investment, minimum.

Your GIF preview is your only chance to impress Pinners and encourage clicks, so carefully select which frames you want to show in the video. You can also enlist the help of The Pin Factory, Pinterest’s in-house creative shop, to create the teaser for you.


Facebook enabled in-feed video autoplay more than two years ago and since then the company has become a leader in video advertising.

Unlike Pinterest, Facebook video ads can appear in both desktop and mobile news feeds. They’re also the most promising ad format available on Facebook, as videos get on the platform.


Your video ad must be uploaded to their native video player, then you customize the description, thumbnail, budget, and audience. Facebook video ads can be a maximum of .

Unlike Pinterest videos that offer a teaser, . So most impressions will happen right in Facebook’s news feed, instead of in a secondary window after the click.

This setup makes it difficult to understand passive versus active views of your ads, but it can help draw more interest by playing the whole video.

Facebook video advertising cost is also based on Cost Per Mille (CPM) — cost per thousand impressions. But instead of paying for teaser impressions, you’re paying for impressions on your whole ad.

Your depending on your industry, audience, and ad quality.


Brands have been able to embed videos in Tweets and then promote them for a long time. In 2015, Twitter introduced Promoted Videos, which are uploaded to their native video player.

have better analytics (like percentage watched) and reach than simple promoted tweets.

You can target your audience using keywords, interests, demographics, and other factors.

Promoted Videos are limited to 140 seconds and are a promising way to get both paid and organic reach — according to Twitter, video tweets have increased by since the beginning of 2016. And your ad analytics allow you to easily differentiate paid and organic performance.

Promoted Videos work under a Cost Per View (CPV) model. So you only pay for actual video views. Here’s how they define a view: the video at least 50 percent on-screen and watched for at least two seconds or a video click.

, Twitter also made it possible to bid on the 3s/100 metric, which instead defines a view as 100 percent in-view on a user’s device and watched for at least three seconds.

The future of video ads.

Pinterest’s rollout of full video ads is only the latest development in the social video throwdown, and it won’t be the last. All the major social platforms are developing , and it’s clear video is the most popular and on the internet.


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Facebook and Twitter have already demonstrated the effectiveness of their video ads — and now big brands are putting Pinterest’s Promoted Video to the test.

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